Warning over construction industry blacklist

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A ST Helens man whose name featured on a construction industry blacklist is urging other people to check whether they’re on it too.

The 53-year-old, who asked not to be named, claims he was blocked from getting jobs by major employers after being involved in two trade union disputes.

The Reporter reader, from Newton-le-Willows, said: “I was involved in a couple of disputes several years ago and was once told, while on a picket line, that I would be blacklisted.

“It’s hard enough trying to find work at the moment without having a black mark against your name. I just couldn’t get a start anywhere.

“That’s when a friend of mine told me to call the information officer to check if I was on a blacklist and, lo and behold, my name and national insurance number was on it.”

At a council meeting earlier this month, councillors unanimously resolved to call for an end to blacklisting.

Coun Richard McCauley had asked for the council chamber’s support in condemning the blacklisting of construction workers – many of whom, he said, were unaware they were even on a 3,500-strong blacklist.

He added that many employees had been singled out simply for their involvement with trade unions.

Coun McCauley’s colleague, Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron remarked: “Blacklisting is a secretive, malicious and immoral act which is stopping people from getting work in the construction industry.

“It discriminates against every level of union membership and many workers are forced to change profession or move abroad for work.”

The worker added: “I would urge anyone who thinks they may have been blacklisted to contact law firm Guney, Clark and Ryan. It might not be a practice which is just going on in the construction industry either.

“I’d like to think that the legal action which is being taken will help stop formal blacklists. But informal ones may still be out there and will be very difficult to crack.”